The Taipei International Travel Fair, open today to Monday at the World Trade Center, will host a record-breaking 1,450 booths and an expected turnout of 320,000 visitors. Here’s the short list of this year’s top attractions.
ITF always has one-off bargains ranging from cheap flights (Taipei to Hong Kong via Hong Kong Airlines at NT$2,222) to full itineraries (five-day stay at Hokkaido for NT$29,800 via Life Tour). Interestingly, a host of governmental units are posting their own bargain vacations, such as farm tours (brought to you by the Council of Agriculture) and suburban hikes (Veterans Affair Council’s Farm Affiliate Organization). The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has its own pavilion for the first time, and it’s there that you’ll find Taiwan’s first EPA-approved tourism agency for “green travel,” also touted as inexpensive travel.
Photo courtesy of Dabagan Hotel
EverBest Travel Service Co. (永嘉旅行社) is rolling out 20 or so new packages like the two-day, one night trip through Hsinchu’s Beipu (北埔) mountains at NT$3,200 per person and an overnight at Tamsui District for NT$3,500, said agent Lin Chao-chieh (林照傑). Trips start this month and include transportation, hotel, dining and entertainment, all certified by the EPA’s tourism industry green mark.
On Sunday, Sanin Sanyo Tourism Promotion Association from Japan will offer money-saving tips in a talk billed as “Blogger Stingy Boy & Megumi’s Sanin Sanyo private tour guide recommendation.”
FORUMS ON THE NEXT BIG THING
Every year, industry experts from around the world meet at ITF to discuss latest trends in forums open to all visitors. On Monday, a forum targets tourism in Muslim countries, which forum organizers regard as the next big market. Another forum focuses on smart travel technology, featuring sector leader Ulrike Gretzel from the University of Queensland and CEO Jerome Kuo (郭爵榮) of AllPass Inc, a Taipei-based application.
TEA FOR TWO
Some fair-goers have no intention of vacationing anywhere, but will come for the tea vouchers. ITF food vouchers are some of the best bargains on-site, though you have to factor in the price of gate admission. This year, the catalogue includes Eat Together afternoon tea vouchers (NT$888 for two people, regular price is NT$538 per person) and lunch at the Grand Hotel’s Grand Garden Restaurant (松鶴廳), which is NT$1,199 for two people (regular price is NT$850 each).
Amid the din and flurry of brochures, ITF runs great 30-minute live shows, some of the best for a trade exhibition. This year’s program sees the return of iSee Taiwan Foundation (財團法人看見臺灣基金會) with classic folk puppetry and South Korea’s The Painters: Hero, a mime and comedy performance that results in a live drawing, organizers said. Also on the bill are troupes from Argentina, Israel, Malaysia, Japan and other countries, plus DIY craft workshops taught by local and international artists.
What: 2014 Taipei International Travel Fair
When: Today from noon to 6pm, tomorrow and Sunday from 10am to 6pm, Monday from 10am to 7pm
Where: Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition (台北世界貿易中心展覽) Halls 1 and 3
Admission: NT$200 at the door, NT$180 in advance
On the Net: www.taipeiitf.org.tw
It has been 26 years since Nicholas Gould hosted his last Issues and Opinions radio show for ICRT a recording studio on Roosevelt Road. He remembers the familiar ‘whoosh’ as the door to the soundproof room closes and recognizes the carpet, but the recording equipment is gone, with half of the space being used for storage. Gould is filled with nostalgia as he greets his guests, two financial writers who are here to discuss Taiwan’s post-COVID-19 economy for his new podcast, Taiwan Matters. Gould had been thinking of revisiting his old career for a while, but being allowed access to
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and